DebCLab (Data & Energy in Buildings & Cities Laboratory)
Institution: Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Featured research (4)
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) can impact human health, well-being, and productivity. This paper reviews the couplings between IEQ which consists of thermal, acoustic, visual comfort, and indoor air quality, and parameters such as human comfort and productivity, with the overarching aim of ensuring a healthy environment while reducing energy consumption in buildings. At current rates of population growth, it is anticipated that the tropics would be home to over half of the world's people by 2050, hence, special attention is paid to studies conducted in tropical climates to prepare a comprehensive review with a specific climatic context. Notably,we highlight the need for more data-driven IEQ research in tropical regions, the importance of broadening the scope of and maintaining uniformity in IEQ standards, and the significance of an adaptive and sustainable built environment as we move ahead. A discussion highlighting the existing challenges and opportunities – especially the integration of AI – for future research in the area is also presented.
Buildings consume around 40% of total global primary energy and account for one-third of greenhouses gas emissions. In the context of rising average air temperature and growing reliance on air-conditioning for space cooling, energy efficiency in buildings is becoming increasingly important. This is of particular significance to the tropics where a high rate of construction and development is expected in the coming decades. The present study evaluates the impact of several envelope retrofit materials on indoor air temperatures and energy consumption for space cooling for an educational building at IIT Bombay in Mumbai, India. The parametric study is performed using Rhino/ Grasshopper plugins LadyBug and HonyeBee and validated using measured indoor air temperature data. The energy performance is evaluated by applying thermal insulation with and without reflective coating, green roof and bamboo-based shading systems in the simulation environment. From all the retrofit alternatives, it is found that increasing the envelope's insulation followed by the provision of natural shading system results in largest reductions in cooling loads. The combined system has shown to produce maximum energy savings of up to 25% and reduce number of hours with indoor air temperatures higher than 35°C by up to 60% for an annual time period. The results offer ways to mitigate energy consumption and carbon footprint of similar buildings in the tropics.